As we enter the New Year, the challenges to baked foods remain. Unfortunately, it looks like Keto and other anti-carb diets will gain in popularity. Tom Vierhile, innovation insights director for research firm GlobalData, observed such trends echo the low-carb movement of 15 years ago. The International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2018 Food & Health Survey noted 25% of Americans see carbohydrates as the source of calories most likely to cause weight gain. In 2017, the figure was 20%.

“This negativity is going to encourage bakery companies to experiment with ingredients like cauliflower, lentils and even cassava flour that can be used in place of grain-based ingredients,” Mr. Vierhile told Nico Roesler, managing editor, for his report in the November issue of Baking & Snack magazine.

On the positive side, expect sprouted grains to surge in popularity. A 2017 GlobalData consumer survey noted that 60% of U.S. shoppers think sprouted grains and seeds have a positive impact on health.

Jim Canterbury, director of sales, Alvarado Street Bakery, said the grains’ digestibility and energy benefits combat any negative perception of carbohydrates in bread. The minimally processed grains used in Alvarado Street Bakery’s Black Label line of sprouted bread are easier to digest than those made with highly processed flour, creates longer-lasting energy and can help control blood sugar levels. Mr. Canterbury likened sprouted bread’s trajectory to the organic trend.

“Sprouted has the same journey in that it was also a strange sell a couple years ago,” he said. “And now it’s a must-have — especially in the bread business.”

Next year, look for future innovation in the sprouted grains space in a carb-challenged environment.